On Friday, April 28, 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America welcomed the Presidential Guard of the Hellenic Republic to New York City during an official Doxology service for Greek Independence at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine.
Among the community members and diplomatic leaders in attendance were His Excellency Ambassador Evangelos Sekeris, Permanent Mission of Greece to the UN; His Excellency Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou, Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN; His Excellency; Mr. Georgios Mylonakos, Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament; and Mr. Honorable Consul General of Greece in New York Mr. Konstantinos Konstantinou.
Today’s Doxology was a first for St. Nicholas Church and Shrine, which was constructed from the same marbles that comprise the Parthenon— a “profound symbol of our ties to the Motherland of Ellada,” His Eminence noted. He thanked Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou for allowing the Guard to travel to the United States and share in the diaspora's festivities at the annual Greek Independence Parade on Sunday.
“On this happy day," His Eminence said, "…Let us pray with more urgency and more devotion: That Greece and Cyprus are always free and secure. That America and the free Nations of the earth always remember Greece, the Mother of Democracy. That we, as free peoples, always hold true to the principles of our Democracies, and defend them against all who would subvert our liberty.”
Under the leadership of His Eminence, who undertook responsibility for the coordination and fundraising of the Guard's visit again this year, the Evzones’ presence was made possible through the hard work and exceptional dedication of countless individuals. Among them is Archon Peter Vlitas, who has arranged for the Evzones' airfare to the United States for over a decade, as well as a number of donors who have generously contributed funds and in-kind donations to cover the expenses of the Evzones during their stay in New York.
After the service, the National Guard joined His Eminence and the Greek American community for the annual flag-raising ceremony in Bowling Green.
Photos: GOARCH/Brittainy Newman